I write about communities, invisible boundaries and transgressive experiences, moments of transcendence that make you stop and really see.
Sheila Armstrong grew up in the west of Ireland and is now based in Dublin. She was nominated for a Hennessy Award, first runner up in the Moth Short Story Prize, and longlisted for the Short Story of the Year at the Irish Book Awards. Her stories appear in Young Irelanders (New Island), gorse and in Best European Fiction 2019 (Dalkey Archive).
Paul Baggaley at Bloomsbury acquired her short story collection, How to Gut a Fish, in auction along with her debut novel the fallen animal collective scheme.
‘I tend to pick through the imagery of the world around me like a magpie. Each of the stories in my first collection began as a chance encounter, a glimpse at a photo, or a snatch of conversation. Hopefully you find some silver amongst the foil.
‘When I first began writing, I found it difficult – I couldn’t easily come up with page-turning plots or snappy dialogue. But I always had a knack for thinking about things from a slightly skewed angle, so when I took a course in experimental literature, I found a way of working with words that felt a little bit different, but also right – rich, dream-like and a little bit fractured.
I am interested in everything from physics and technology to nature and landscapes. I write about communities, both rural and urban, invisible boundaries and transgressive experiences – moments of transcendence that make you stop and really see. When I write, I’m trying to get at these experiences by examining exactly what’s there, both in the foreground and background.